Cake Mix Recipe – Revamped

One of the most common questions that pops up in my email inbox and comment section here on MBA has to do with my favorite Doctored Up Cake Mix recipe from 2012.

When the recipe was originally shared, 18.25 ounce boxes were readily available at most supermarkets. They aren’t so attainable anymore. Most companies have now reduced the packaging down to about 15 ounces. They’ve changed the structure of the cake mix to get the same number of cakes and cupcakes with a smaller amount of product.

After responding to countless emails and comments regarding this recipe, I thought it was probably time that I address the change with an all new post. It took some tweaking and lots of cake taste testing (I’m not complaining), and I think finally have just the recipe for you.

I’ve tried it with several cake mix and pudding combinations with stellar results, so grab those mixes and let’s get to baking!

My Favorite Cake Mix Recipes

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (pictured above)

Coconut Cupcakes

Heath Bar Cupcakes

Oreo Cake

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

Take 5 Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Doctored Up Cake Mix Recipe - Revamped

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18-22 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (see note below)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (see note below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, top with your favorite buttercream recipe.

For Bundt Cakes:

  1. Pour the batter into a well-greased, 12-cup bundt cake pan.
  2. Bake at 350°F for approximately 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. If desired, drizzle the cooled cake with your favorite recipe for chocolate ganache.

For Layer Cakes:

  1. Pour batter evenly between 2 greased 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  3. Frost cooled cake with your favorite buttercream recipe.


  • My favorite Devil's Food Cake is Betty Crocker - Pudding in the mix.
  • If you don't have instant espresso granules, you can sub in 1/2 cup warm coffee.
  • The espresso in this recipe really just deepens the chocolate flavor, but if you aren't into the whole coffee thing, just use 1/2 cup warm water.
  • If you are using a different flavor of cake mix and pudding, simply omit the espresso granules and simply use 1/2 cup warm water.

138 Responses to “Cake Mix Recipe – Revamped”

  1. Ali — March 26, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    This worked beautifully for a character cake (Lightening McQueen) I tried today. Just had to increase the cook time a bit. Thanks!

    • Jamie — March 30th, 2015 at 11:41 am

      I’m so glad the recipe worked out well for you. Thanks for visiting.


  2. Julie — April 20, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I wanted to use the birthday chip cake mix what kind of pudding do you recommend for this one to add thanks Julie

    • Jamie — April 24th, 2015 at 9:14 am

      I would use the vanilla pudding. I hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Laurie — May 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this recipe!! I would rather make “from scratch” batter, but why when this tastes soooo good!! Every single time I make these, I get such wonderful compliments and no one can understand how I get them so moist! I always do this chocolate one, but am going to try a vanilla version for a “cupcake cake” for a friend of mine’s daughter this week. Thanks so much for the great go-to recipe!!

    • Jamie — May 22nd, 2015 at 11:17 am

      I’m so glad the recipe is working for you. Thanks so much for stopping by.


  4. Amy — May 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    Can I sub the oil for melted butter?

    • Jamie — May 22nd, 2015 at 11:14 am

      You can substitute oil for the butter. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting.


  5. aurora Dooling — June 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    i want to make a yellow cake do I use the same recipe as the chocolate except the choc pudding and coffee? Thank you

    • Jamie — June 27th, 2015 at 10:22 am

      I have used yellow cake mix with this recipe and substituted in vanilla pudding and omitted the coffee. I hope this helps.

  6. Debbie S — June 15, 2015 at 7:24 pm


    I’ve made this recipe close to a dozen times now coupled with PB Frosting and it is the shiz-nit!! It may start off as a box mix, but with all the additions, it totally qualifies as “from scratch!” Thanks for sharing the recipe and being the martyr to test sample so many to make it just perfect!!


    • Jamie — June 16th, 2015 at 9:31 am

      I’m so glad the recipe is working for you. Thanks so much for stopping by.


  7. Roune' — July 30, 2015 at 9:43 am


    So if i use the Betty Crocker Devil’s food cake mix should I still use pudding mix too?

    • Jamie — August 9th, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Yes, you’ll still add the dry pudding to the cake batter. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. SW — July 30, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I am making a minion cake (sheet cake 9 x 13) will this recipe work for a sheet cake? If so what temperature and time would you recommend when baking this cake. Please help I’m making this tomorrow.


    • Jamie — August 9th, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Yes, this cake works fine as a 9×13. I would start checking it at 30 minutes. I hope this helps.

  9. Dory — August 7, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I’m definitely going to be trying this recipe soon!

    I know you’ve updated it for the 15.25 ounce boxes, but I’ve noticed at least in the area I live in, the 18.25 ounce boxes are found at Target, while grocery stores are carrying the smaller ones. Hope that helps!

    • Jamie — August 9th, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Thanks so much, Dory! Have a great day and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  10. Mary Suzette — November 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    This is the absolutely BEST cake recipe I’ve ever tried! I’ve been searching so long for a cake recipe from scratch, but they never came out right. I never would have imagined to “doctor” a simple cake mix! I’ve used this for different cake flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet), and people swear they taste homemade! You know you’ve found perfection when you stop looking for other recipes. Thank you so much for sharing! =)

    • Jamie — January 12th, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Mary Suzette: you are welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  11. May — November 25, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Is it  possible to leave out the pudding entirely?

    • Jamie — January 13th, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Hi, May! I suppose you could, but I think the pudding makes the cake extra moist and delicious. Let me know how it turns out!

  12. Valerie — December 6, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    FABULOUS! You are my hero. This solved SO many problems / challenges for me. Hands down winner — everyone loved it, and it was perfect for cake construction.

  13. Rachael — January 4, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I have a cake mix box that is 16.5 oz. Do you have a doctored up cake mix recipe for this size? Thanks in advance.

    • Jamie — January 13th, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Hi, Rachael! The easiest way I can think of doing this is (if you have a kitchen scale) to take 1.25 oz of cake mix from your box and use the 15.5 oz remainder in the recipe. I think it may turn out to be 3 tablespoons. I hope this helps!

  14. Kiyanna — January 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Can I omit the chocolate pudding? What will happen if I do?

    • Jamie — January 22nd, 2016 at 9:28 am

      I haven’t attempted this recipe without the pudding mix, but I can guess that the texture will be a bit different. If you give if a try let me know the outcome. Thanks so much!

  15. Dawn — January 22, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    I’m going to make you cupcakes for baby shower. Will they dry out if I stick them in the fridge overnight?

    • Jamie — January 22nd, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      Nope, they’ll be completely fine. Enjoy!

  16. Rica — January 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I have followed this recipe for quite some time and it’s great! I’ve done it with all the different cake box flavors but I am worried about white cake mix. Do you think I can still follow this recipe with just the egg whites?

    • Jamie — January 26th, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Hi, Rica! Give it a try! You probably would want to omit the instant espresso, for color purposes. Let me know how it turns out!

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